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Golders Green Parish Church – Newsletter
14 October 2020
Greetings everyone to this week’s news letter - from Sally - hoping you are all keeping well.
In this edition we have:
A notice from Tony about the Annual Parish General Meeting to which we hope as many will be able to attend as possible;
This reminder that the Bishop of Edmonton will be with us on Sunday at 10.00am to take our Service. It will be great to see you all as he is keen to provide support and encouragement for us in our interregnum and is
looking forward to meeting and talking with you;
An article from Nwando on “Coming Home”
An article from me as a result of attending the Christian Aid/Diocese of Southwark Conference, “Waiting to Exhale”
A note from Jenny regarding a World Council of Churches webinar series.
TONY’s Notice on APCM
Vestry and APCM - 19th October 2020 at 19:30
The Vestry Meeting at which the new Churchwardens will be elected and the APCM at which various other matters are to be discussed, including the election of new PCC members and deanery synod members is to take place on Monday 19th October at 7:30pm by Zoom and telephone - Details below and to follow separately.
It would really be good if a goodly number could attend. There is provision for you to dial in if you do not have the ability to zoom in via the link. The telephone numbers are all local numbers
There are two nominations for Churchwardens and currently 7 for the PCC. We will also be electing 2 PCC members as Deputy Church wardens and there will be the election of stewards.
Golders Green Parish Church is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: My Meeting
Time: Oct 19, 2020 07:30 PM London
If you would like to join the meeting, please contact the churchwardens on : firstname.lastname@example.org
Home Coming Nwando
After more than 6 months of Church closure due to the pandemic, l entered the House of God again, last Sunday, with great joy as one coming home after a long absence. I empathised & affirmed the sentiments of the Israelites who said, ' I rejoiced when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
As l walked through the only open doors into the Church, l felt the warmth of God's welcoming presence and a strong desire to embrace everyone present. I flung out my arms in a wide embrace but, of course in Covid 19 compliant, with distancing and not touching. lt felt good to be back at Church. I look forward to seeing more of our Golders Green Church family back.
The magnitude of work done to prepare & get the Church ready for worship is phenomenal and cannot be overlooked or ignored. My thanks go to all those who were involved in the work, and who gave of their time to ensure we return to Church, in safe surroundings for worship. We appreciate your selfless service to the Lord.
I often thought, during the lockdown, of what will become of our Church, how long the search for a new Vicar will take, and if l, and some others, will be patient enough to wait on the Lord's plan for our Church. I thank God that He is aware of our thoughts and the compelling events in our lives that shape our actions. He also knows how they affect us and He helps us. It is by His grace that l am back in GG church.
Our prayer is that God will send us a Vicar after His own heart, who will shepherd the Church in the way of Christ and will actively promote the beautiful diversity in our Church family.
It seems we are not out of the woods yet, and more restrictions are being reimposed by the government as the virus spreads.
I pray earnestly that closing the places of worship will not be included in the latest plans. Plans and seasons change but God remains the same. He is with us to strengthen us and He gives us wisdom to guide us. Let us be encouraged and encourage one another and not succumb to anxiety.
Please keep safe, look out for your neighbours, where possible, and, May the grace of God be with us all.
WAITING TO EXHALE Sally
Jenny B and I recently attended a live streamed Christian Aid/Southwark Diocesan conference on, "Waiting to Exhale
", dealing with climate change, the Covid pandemic and its effect on so many black communities in the global north and south. The Southwark diocesan focus for this year is on race and climate justice
; joining up the issues of justice that underpins Black Lives Matter with an appreciation of the disproportionate impact of climate change on communities in the global south; looking at how positive action can be taken together in the UK. This event enabled black theologians, church leaders and youth activists to have a voice and be given an opportunity to talk about their research, experiences and insights to empower all of us to make a positive difference.
Nationally we see and hear less from black and brown climate activists in this country, of which there are many. The panel of distinguished black professors, theologians, academics, writers, clergy and lay* was inspirational. All speakers were talking from the perspective of their black churches that most belonged to, as well as the Church of England.
I found it to be the best conference I have attended for a long time for its depth of knowledge, direct experience and analysis of what and how climate change is happening and why the effects of Covid is particularly serious for black communities. To hear their voices and expertise was so right and, as a white person, to learn from from a black perspective even better. A great deal was painful to hear but was nothing in our hearts we don’t really know but so often don’t want to acknowledge. What is happening diminishes us all whoever we are.
The point was made about, “the groaning of creation” from Romans 8 v22
; what that means in the context of climate change and Covid. What we are experiencing now is not a future threat but a present reality; that we all have responsibility to recognise that what we do in the north impacts on the south, imposed upon them as a result of the unjust structures underpinned by very powerful, economical, vested interests of wealthy companies and industry. It is a Justice issue. We need to be the good steward so often mentioned in the bible and that, being a good steward, is a mixture of theology and politics whether people like it or not. Everything being experienced is intertwined and interrelated.
Dr Robert B, theologian, broadcaster and author, was very critical of much of our religious traditions that he felt are bad news in this respect. We have been seduced by our theology partly because Sin is always emphasised as being individual never structural and this needs to be addressed. He was critical of many of the songs sung in churches that focus on individual salvation that make us inward looking and complacent rather than aware of structural responsibility and need for change. Individual input and debate is important, that is true, but we need systematic institutional change.
We must start from our own action and ask how are we taking on our own prophetic actions to bring about change on a wider scale.
Dr Beckford, felt we need shock tactics to jolt us out of our complacency. We badly need prophetical leadership and more radical practice (something many of us have been saying for a long time). He was backed up in this by the Revd George Q, who also stressed
this importance of challenging church leaders to be prophetic voices. The media do not make it a priority by highlighting it, there are powerful forced against it. We must put our church leaders on the spot and goad them into action by asking, “What are you doing to support climate change? Stop being armchair pontificators and get out there”. You cannot do it alone it takes team work.
Richard R, “Director of Justice and Inclusion at Churches Together in Britain and Northern Ireland (CTBI)” commented that, “Those who feel it know it”. They are the people suffering the direct consequences of climate change. There is a black dimension to Green issues and a real need for partnership between black and white Christians to overcome this. He felt Churches have been playing catch-up with this as well as with “Black Lives Matter”. The question for all of us is, “How do we get this thoroughly embedded in all of our churches? Signing up to become an Eco church and linking with A Rocha is one way churches can be engaged at a local level. Each church should have at least one one person to lead on this” he said.
He stated that the Church has Five Marks of Mission”; **one of which contains the question, “How do you treasure creation”? He reminded us that richer nations use more technology; our carbon footprint is greater in our daily lives. We contribute more to global warming.
The Ven Dr Rosemarie M, Archdeacon of Croydon, asked us to look at ourselves and reflect on, “How are we working for justice together to change unjust structures”? She quoted, James 1:22-25: "Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves”.
We heard too from the perspective and experiences of black youth activists who were researching, writing and advocating on this issue to help empower all of us to make a positive difference. It is after all their futures.
We broke up into different groups; mine was on, “The Impact of Health and Wellbeing from the On-going Climate Crisis”, chaired by Pastor Dr Marcus Chilaka, from “The Church of God and Assistant Provincial Pastor and Ecumenical lead RCCG”.
Prominent in the discussion was, “What is it that makes people from black and minority groups disproportionally affected by Covid”? Key identifiers were factors such as lower socio economic conditions, poorer housing, overcrowding; work situations which, for many, the choice is between staying at home and not earning, or going to work and being able to feed your family. As you are more likely to work in the public sphere, as so many do, driving buses, trains, working in hospitals, any job that mixes with large numbers of the public, makes you more prone to the transmission of Covid. (Living near Brent for example, where I lived and taught for years, many families in all these situations have suffered greatly losing a high number of family members. The choice of stay-in or work from home simply is no choice at all). Racism and prejudice is also a constant stress in this country for black people which contributes disproportionally towards mental breakdown and ill health.
The point was also made, particularly referring to refugees, that many people are living-out climate-change with floods, fire, diseases, consequences of war, that bring water pollution, starvation, homelessness. Consequently, people are driven out because of these and have little choice but to move on to a richer country. They then find themselves entering in to a vicious circle.
Bishop Karowi, Bishop of Woolwich, who was part of our group (who is himself a doctor from Nigeria) made an impassioned speech about the treatment of refugees, saying we need to realise that refugees come from many different professional backgrounds, and, rather than being lumped together in a hostile climate, which is encouraged through government and media hostility along with derogatory language, they could be put to work in our society. When they get to this country they are so traumatised and our asylum system deliberately makes it worse. It is not fit for purpose. We must change the narrative we use to a realisation
that many refugees have something to offer. They are not allowed to work but want to. So many bring a great variety of gifts, expertise and skills that could benefit us. They could contribute so much. But what can people do? Individual action and structural change is needed. Bishop Karowi was a highly compelling speaker speaking from wide experience. (Perhaps you remember him. He and his wife are long-term friends of Rose who came to Golders Green on the occasion of her 80th birthday)
It was pointed out that other countries, such as Germany and Canada, educate refugees and train-up those who are already doctors, nurses, scientists, engineers, teachers, so they can work and make their contribution. There are also parts in this country who do have training schemes such as in Lincolnshire, Wales and Scotland.
There is so much more to be said about this event. Listening to the experiences of those who led it I was so glad that Jenny drew my attention to it. Many thanks to the Ven Dr Rosemarie M and Chine M, Head of Media and PR Christian Aid, for organising it so effectively and ensuring the day flowed seamlessly.
* Facilitated by Archdeacon Rosemarie and Chine
Amanda Khozi - Chief Executive at Christian Aid
Vanessa Nakate - Ugandan Activist
Dr Robert Beckford - Theologian
Richard Reddie - Director CTBI
Revd Archdeacon - Rosemarie Mallet
Revd Israel Olofinjana - Director at Centre for Missionaries from the Majority World & Senior Pastor -Woolwich Central Baptist Church
Bishop Karowi - Bishop of Woolwich,
Pastor Alton Bell - Senior Pastor, Wembley Family Church
Radhika Bynon -Climate activist at Green Christians & Director of Programmes; People and Places, Young Foundation
Seyi Odejukun - Youth Prophetic Activist, Christian Aid
Perk Pomeyie - National Co-ordinator Ghana Youth Environmental Movement
Revd Wale Hudson-Roberts - Equalities Lead, Baptist Union
Bob Kikuyu - Senior Advisor Theology and Church Partnership, Christian Aid Kenya
** The 5 Marks of Mission
The mission of the Church is the mission of Christ
1. To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
2. To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
3. To respond to human need by loving service
4. To transform unjust structures of society
, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation
5. To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth
Note from Jenny re a World Council of Churches webinar series:
Theological Reflections on Hate Speech and Whiteness. 19-23 October 2020
The WCC is holding a series of webinars on the vitally important issues of hate speech and whiteness next week, and they will be livestreamed on its website: https://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/videos/livestream
. The themes of the sessions are:
1. White Privilege in COVID-19 and White Supremacy in Mission
2. Legacy of Slavery, Structural Racism, and Religion
3. Religion, White Superiority, and Aboriginal Peoples
4. Legacy of Slavery, Colonialism, and Structural Racism
5. Hate Speech based on Caste and Class Discrimination and Religion
You can find out more at: https://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/events/webinar-series-theological-reflections-on-hate-speech-and-whiteness
Daily Hope - The Church of England Phone line church service - is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044
– has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind.
Please continue to pray for those who have asked us as a community to pray for them Okey Jnr, Margaret, Yvone, Anna, Jason, Ian, Eva, Juliette, Ivor, Myfanwy, Sheila , Simi and Dorothy
We at Golders Green Church will continue to offer a number of ways we can and will keep in contact though emailing and phoning each other, the use of Facebook and the website, sending out updates by supporting those who need shopping, prescriptions fetched, letters posted and anything else you may need if you are isolated at home, whether you are in the over 70-year-old age group, or, have underlying health conditions.
The important thing is, PLEASE LET US KNOW. We are drawing up a list of volunteers we can call on to help. If anyone wants to add their names to this, please email the church wardens.
Radio, Television and Online Worship
You may wish to join in worship during this time through television and radio.
Check online, in the Radio Times and elsewhere for details:
Songs of Praise BBC 1, Sunday afternoon, variable times
Sunday Worship BBC Radio 4, Sunday, 8.10am Choral Evensong BBC
Radio 3, Wednesday Daily Service
BBC Radio 4 (Longwave only), weekdays, 9.45am
Big Sunday Service Premier Christian Radio, Sunday, 7am, 8am, 10am Easter Sunday Eucharist A service is usually broadcast on the BBC on Easter morning
Free 24 hour telephone church service 0800 804 8044
Online resources Church of England Daily Prayer https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-dailyprayer
https://mailchi.mp/b9d86a4acdc7/coming-up-from-st-pauls-cathedral-1274047?e=377e26b1db St Paul’s Cathedral have a number of resources available for us to use.
Church of England Online Resources during this time https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronaviruscovid-19-liturgy-and-prayer-resources
Go On-line to " ps://www.achurchnearyou.com", put in Area or post code and find a local church that broadcasts Worship.
Prayers from Christian Aid https://www.christianaid.org.uk/pray/churches/coronavirus-prayers
https://pray-as-you-go.org/ Pray as you Go (a short service each day in the Jesuit Tradition)
LICC have some great resources on their website https://www.licc.org.uk/
Especially on Covid-19 https://www.licc.org.uk/ourresources/prayer-journeys/presence-pressure-purpose/